Restaurateur Robert Thompson has been expanding his Punch Bowl Social family of gastro-tainment spots nationwide over the past few years, garnering attention as an astute businessman in the process. Earlier this month he was named by Ernst & Young as a mountain-desert regional finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year for growing Punch Bowl to fourteen current and pending locations, including the upcoming Stapleton outpost, scheduled for a late-2016 opening. But even when you're on a roll, the occasional setback can happen. That's the case with Thompson's Argyll Whisky Beer, which just closed at 1035 East 17th Avenue after two years in the Uptown neighborhood.
Argyll moved into the restaurant space previously occupied by Las Margaritas for 25 years, transforming it from a time-worn cantina into a modern homage to the finer points of the British Empire. But this wasn't Argyll's first home. From 2009 to 2011, Thompson's gastropub (a novel concept back then) occupied a subterranean space at 2700 East Third Avenue in Cherry Creek North (which is now home to La Merise). Shortly after it opened, Argyll won our Best New Restaurant award in 2010, and when it reopened in Uptown, it made our list of the best new restaurants of 2014.
But Argyll was a tough sell on East 17th. Thompson cites lack of parking and interior restaurant space as primary culprits, and says he was recently unable to come to an agreement with the landlord over building alterations. "The closure will allow our team to focus on the Punch Bowl Social expansion and we’re pleased to be keeping the family together by offering all Argyll staff positions at Punch Bowl Social," he explains in an announcement of Argyll's closing.
We'll miss Argyll's killer whisky list, crave-worthy Scotch eggs and playful menu of English- and Indian-infused specialties.